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Credit Scores: VantageScore vs Fico

Most people are very familiar with the three credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion—either because they have taken a loan out, purchased a home, or know that they should be checking their credit reports from each of these agencies once a year [1].

On top of these credit reports, there is the FICO score [2], which is your credit score. The credit score is computed based off of financial information reported by Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Few people are aware that in addition to various other credit scores [3] there is also another credit score that was created by the big 3 credit bureaus and that can also factor into such things as the interest rates you get on a car or a home loan.

Differences between Your FICO and VantageScore Credit Scores

Anyone who has ordered their FICO credit scores knows that the number ranking can vary significantly between the three agencies. VantageScore was created in March 14, 2006 by Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion in order to standardize the credit score between agencies so that there is not as much variance, as well as to compete with the FICO score. While your scores will still not be the same for each agency, there is a much narrower range between scores amongst the big three.

Unlike the FICO score, which is on a scale of 301-850, VantageScore is from 501 to 990. The numbers are further categorized to give you a letter grading, such as what your child might receive on a report card:

  • A = 901–990
  • B = 801–900
  • C = 701–800
  • D = 601–700
  • F = 501–600

Vangtage Score Factors

The Vantage Score is calculated based off of various categories [4], with the following having the most weight:

  • Payment history (32%)
  • Utilization or percentage of credit amount you have used (23%)
  • Balances (15%)

VantageScore also has a new category that is not considered in the FICO score: your available credit, which is 7% of the overall calculation.

Finally, VantageScore takes more of your credit history into consideration than the FICO score, meaning that people who have newer credit histories or have minimal amounts of credit may be given a lower score when compared with their FICO, even if all of their bills have been paid on time.

VantageScore Use

While the VantageScore has hardly been reported about since coming onto the financial scene in 2006, it is important to know that lenders, landlords, employers, etc. have the option of using this score. Knowing what both your VantageScore and your FICO score is will help you make more informed decisions when dealing with future loans.

More Credit Score Resources